On May 10, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law “An Act Concerning Telehealth” (the “Act”). The Act extends, until June 30, 2023, many of the COVID-19 related telehealth expansions issued by Governor Lamont through executive orders. A press release from the Governor’s Office expressed the Act’s purpose to extend the duration of the expansion of telehealth services permitted by Executive Order 7G (for our previous analysis of Executive Order 7G, see here). Among other things, the Act:
- Expands the types of providers that can provide telehealth services to include: physicians, physicians assistants, physical therapists, chiropractors, clinical social workers, registered and advanced practice nurses, and others;
- Until June 30, 2023, permits telehealth to be provided through audio-only technology and through store-and-forward technology;
- Permits out of state licensed providers to provide telehealth services in Connecticut as long as they are providing such services pursuant to a relevant order issued by the Connecticut Commissioner of Public Health and maintain proper professional malpractice insurance;
- Outlines the scope of permitted telehealth prescribing practices to permit prescribing schedule II and III non-opioid controlled substances for the treatment of a person with a psychiatric disability or substance use disorder;
- Prohibits facility fees associated with telehealth services;
- Allows providers to provide telehealth services from any location; and
- Requires providers to accept as payment in full for telehealth services: (a) An amount equal to the Medicare reimbursement for such services if the provider determines the patient does not have health coverage for such services; or (b) The amount the patient’s health coverage reimburses, and any coinsurance, copayment, deductible or other out-of-pocket expense imposed by the patient’s health coverage, for such services if the provider determines the patient has health coverage for such services.
Connecticut’s Legislature has taken an interesting step in passing legislation that extends a COVID-19 related emergency order beyond the Governor’s emergency declaration. As states continue to ease restrictions and governors’ emergency powers end, it will be interesting to observe what emergency orders states’ legislatures extend or even make permanent. The Act is effective upon passage and lasts until June 30, 2023.